Having started the day in Kettering talking to the trustees of Youth Music, I have just come back from the advisory board of an ESRC funded project called ‘Researching Civic Behaviour’.
The main part of the meeting was taken up by a discussion of a brilliant paper written by Gerry Stoker, Peter John and Graham Smith entitled ‘Nudge, nudge, think, think: Two strategies for changing civic behaviour’.
In the paper the authors compare deliberation (which for the purposes of a clever title they call 'think') and nudging as ways of influencing behaviour and come up with the following dimensions:
View of preferences
View of subjects
Cognitive misers, users of shortcuts, prone to flawed sometimes befuddled thinking
Reasonable, knowledge hungry and capable of collective reflection
Costs to the individual
Low but repeated
High but only intermittently
Unit of analysis
Cost-benefit led shift in choice environment
Value led outline of new shared policy platform
Increasing the attractiveness of positive-sum action
Addressing the general interest
Role of the state
Customise messages, expert and teacher
Create new institutional spaces to support citizen-led investigation, respond to citizens
It’s fascinating stuff and regular readers of this blog won’t be surprised that I wondered whether there was a cultural theory perspective here:
• Hierarchy – rules
• Individualism – nudging
• Egalitarianism – deliberation
There’s a lot more to discuss but I’ll see if anyone out there is interested first.